Thursday, March 23, 2017

*ARC* Losing Kyler - Review

Losing Kyler (The Kennedy Boys #2)

By: Siobhan Davis

Published: March 27, 2016

458 pages

Source: ebook, ARC from author

(Goodreads / Amazon)

Summary:
Condemned to repeat the sins of the past...

Faye thought losing her parents was the most devastating thing to happen to her, but she was wrong. Her uncle’s scandalous revelation has sent her into a tailspin, leaving her questioning her entire existence.

Everything she believed is built on a lie. 

And the one person she shares a passionate, soul-deep connection with can’t be there for her.

Faye and Ky can’t be together. It’s forbidden. Though they are determined to avoid replicating their parents’ mistakes, caving to their feelings is as tempting as the apple in the Garden of Eden.

Ky had sworn off girls until Faye bulldozed her way into his life. Now, she’s his whole world, and their forced separation is crushing him. Once his manipulative ex resurfaces—hell-bent on ruining the Kennedys—he’ll do whatever it takes to protect his loved ones including turning his back on the one person he can’t live without. 

Then tragedy strikes and all bets are off.

But is it too late?

When Faye needs him and he isn’t there for her, guilt and hurt threaten to obliterate their love. As they start to rebuild their fractured hearts, another sordid family secret is uncovered, and Faye worries Ky may be lost to her forever. 

But can you truly lose someone if they don’t want to be found?

Exclusively available on Amazon and free to read in Kindle Unlimited. Pre-order available now.
MY REVIEW:
This series has seriuosly stretched my comfort zone! But yet I am addicted to it! The payoff to follow through with these characters has been huge and I was excited to keep going. In book one and a lot of book two I was struggling with how I felt on one hand, because as in my first review, this is a love story that involves a cousin relation (granted cousins that don't know the other exists till they are 17), and then I found myself rooting for the characters. Talk about whiplash in my brain! I felt very bipolar in my feelings. Like any great love story though, their connection and chemistry is incredible and I found myself becoming more acceptable towards them. Book two ups the "forbidden romance" by a thousand percent.

The side characters, ALL of the Kennedy brothers, and Kyler's best friend Brad are equally addicting and their hotness oozes off the pages trapping you in their crazy lifestyles. The major plot in book two involves Kalvin Kennedy but the secrets that are in this family knows no end and everybody has drama! Just when they think they are rebuilding relationships and working through mistakes of their past, another secret blows up in their faces and they are reeling from another revelation. Talk about twisted pasts and damaging secrets! This family is seriously dysfunctional but yet you'll love them to the very end....despite their issues.

And one of the stories antagonists, Addison, that chick needs to seriously be put in her place! But money in this town talks more than the law. If you can pay your way out, then whoever has the bigger checkbook seems to walk away scotfree! Poor Faye is stuck in the middle of the insanity, trying her best to keep her new family together.

Another big cliffhanger ends this book and of course I'm sitting her begging for the final installment! For all the emotions this series brings out, from the "ewww" to the "gasp" to the "awww" moments, it gets a 4 star rating. Check out my review for book one, Finding Kyler. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.

Top 5 Favorite Quotes:
You don't lie to the people you profess to love, no matter how painful the truth is.

"When everything else is shattering, you feel like the one true constant."

That's the thing with grief - it jumps out and waylays you when you least expect it.

The heart wants what the heart wants, and no amount of logic makes a blind difference.

"Nothing good comes from hiding behind the truth."

Language Rating: 2 (medium)
Mature Content Rating: 2 (medium)
Final Rating: 4 stars

Monday, March 20, 2017

Troll - Review

Troll

By: Ashely C. Harris

Published: October 6, 2015 by Kindle Press

299 pages

Source: Personal Kindle Library

(Goodreads / Amazon $1.00)

Summary:
At the age of sixteen, Abby is undergoing major household changes. Her mom is getting ready to remarry and her new step-brother is driving her insane. She is just trying to keep herself busy with school and her part-time job when a most deliciously handsome stranger moves to her little seaside town and won't leave her alone.

New arrival Wilhelm is unlike any other student at Abby’s school. His emerald eyes and tattooed body don’t truly reveal what he really is: a creature emerged from thousands of miles underground, seeking revenge, treasure, and a key that once belonged to an old enemy – a key Abby wears suspended from a chain around her neck. Why she has it is a mystery that Wilhelm will need to solve, and fast, in order to defeat a powerful mortal adversary.

As an attraction between Abby and Wilhelm develops, more creatures like Wilhelm are drawn from beneath the ground to Abby’s town; wreaking havoc as they offer Abby’s classmates the fulfillment of their deepest desires. Will Abby and her new family survive as a game of magical warfare is unleashed? Her ability to reverse Wilhelm’s bargain depends on it.
MY REVIEW:
I first requested the sequel to this book, Troll Cries, and was approved for it so I went ahead and purchased this so that I could read it first. I'm not gonna lie....the covers for these two books were very eye catching and because I love pretty covers I gave them a second glance. The story sounded interesting enough so I took a chance on them.

Does anyone else have the image of the troll from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in mind? Extremely large, strong, stupid and ugly? Haha! This is NOT what these trolls look like. Undoutedly, their true troll form is quite scary, being 7 feet or more tall. Skin like rock, eyes like gem stones. But the magic they use to shield their true form makes them beautiful in human form. These trolls feed off of the emotions of others. They entice humans with their hearts desires and when a bargain is made the human is under the control of the troll.

The story is about a 16 year old girl who experienced tragedy close to her when she was younger. Her cousin Ashlynn and best friend Leo both went missing around age 12. Having been picked on by her classmates for much of her education, she's just trying to get by and get out of high school.

Then there is the underground world of the trolls. A world where there is royalty and there are those who serve the royals. Wilhelm is the child of a royal, however can not be claimed as one, so he is what is considered a mining troll. He and others like him do the grunt work. He is stronger in his abilities than most trolls and as such, is more dangerous to those who are royal. His path crosses Abby's after the death of his mother by the hands of a knight, the trolls biggest enemy, and his search to discover what she had started trying to learn. Trolls bring about chaos and destruction. They take what they want from weak humans. Wilhelm is captivated by Abby in a way that makes no sense to him and he continues to battle what he should be feeling as a troll.

The ultimate storyline is that Abby has to learn about her destiny and how Wilhelm fits in to that.

There are several POV's throughout the story including Abby, Wilhelm, Sophia, Liz, Klaus and perhaps one or two more. I caught on to some surprise twists a little earlier than they became confirmed in the story.

I had some irritations with this book. First were all the grammatical errors. Lots of typos in the Kindle version I read.  I also felt like specific details weren't fleshed out until very late in the story. Once they were touched on, I suppose I could understand the need to keep it secret. The reader experiences the truth on matters such as how trolls are created at the same time the characters begin seeing the truth on the same things. My second irritation was that there seemed to be some inconsistencies. A troll can be controlled when its real name is used. This occurs when Wilhelm learns the first name of one of the royals. He uses the first name to exact control. However, later in the story the first and last name is used to control a troll, which would have been fine except for the fact that the same first name had been spoken to him before and no control was exacted.

Overall due to my irritations this fell in my average book rating. I will be picking up immediately with book two to see the ending of Abby and Wilhelm.

Top Favorite Quotes:
Revenge is an illusion like that: it always seems like it will make things finally feel right, but it's never truly satisfying, and the pain just increases until it boils over.

You are mine, I'm with you, and I've made you more than enough...

Language: 1 (light)
Mature Content: 1 (light)
Final Rating: 3 stars

Thursday, March 16, 2017

*ARC* Making Faces - Review

Making Faces

By: Amy Harmon

Published: February 21, 2017 by Spencer Hill Press

405 pages

Source: 

(Goodreads / Amazon)

Summary:
Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She'd been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have...until he wasn't beautiful anymore.

Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl's love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior's love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast where we discover that there is little beauty and a little beast in all of us.
MY REVIEW:
This is my third Amy Harmon book. Her style of writing is one I have found to be easy to get swept up in and her stories captivate me. From fantasy to contemporary romance, I'm definitely a fan of hers!

I think one of the books themes that will be more relatable to a lot of females, is the fact that our MC is a girl who grows up with red curly hair, lots of freckles, braces for nearly all of high school, short and petite to the point of looking like a little girl and mostly unnoticed by most...especially guys. Despite her physical beauty not being one that necessarily draws the masses, this girl has a heart of gold! She's caring and genuine and honest. She's funny and witty and smart. She's the kind of girl that I definitely would've valued as a friend both in high school and as an adult. Her best friend is her cousin who has a disease that after the age of 14 took his ability to walk and to stand on his own. From then on he is wheelchair bound and he eventually looses most of the use of his arms as well and has to depend on others to take care of him. Knowing he will succumb in death at some point sooner rather than later because of this disease, his character is not one of bitterness, but rather of seizing every moment and living with joy as much as he can. For all that Fern and Bailey go through together, they are really quite incredible characters.

Ambrose is the male MC, all 6 ft 3 inches of muscle of him. He is known as being extremely beautiful, incredibly gifted in wrestling and in singing. Everyone loves him, including Fern. His interest in Fern though is nearly nonexistent. Unfortunately after years of trying to meet everyone's expectations for him, he's exhausted and lonely. The story briefly touches on the events of 9/11 in the US, and since the story takes place in Pennsylvania where one of the three planes crashed, Ambrose finds himself strongly drawn to wanting to serve his country after high school. He, along with his four best friends, join the Army and are immediately sent to Iraq after basic training.

The story goes back and forth between present time and flashbacks to various ages covering somewhere around age 11/12 through their early 20's. It also goes back and forth between main characters, Fern and Ambrose and Bailey who is a strong side character.

So far in the three books I've read, Harmon always finds a way to weave in Biblical stories or quotes from the Bible. These books are not at all considered Christian Fiction given their content and language, but I have enjoyed the addition of Bible related things to her books. For this one, Fern's parents are described as being like Zacharias and Elizabeth, who in their old age gave birth to John, who would later be called John the Baptist. Fern's mom was 45 when she had her and her Dad was in his 50's. Fern's father is a preacher and Fern herself has faith in God and this is mentioned throughout the book, both in her prayers and also in thoughts and speech.

Though pretty clean in mature content, the language to me was heavier than I would give a for light rating, so I went with a medium rating for this one. No "f" bombs, so I was pleased with that. But there's definitely a good bit of language.

The thought/saying "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and other similar thoughts come to mind regarding these characters. There is more to beauty than physical attributes. There is more to being beautiful than what the world typically sees as outward beauty. Each of the three main characters have a certain beauty to them that is appealing and will draw you to them.

Another well done story from Amy Harmon! Fans of contemporary romance, fans of stories about war and the sacrifice and pain that often comes with it, fans of stories about hope and love - if you find yourself in any of those categories then this book is for you!

Top 5 Favorite Quotes (and a bonus):
"Thank you for making even ugly things beautiful."

"But that's the cool thing about friendship. It's not about being perfect, or even being deserving."

"Good friends are very hard to find. They take care of each other and watch out for each other, and sometimes, they even die for their friends, the way Jesus died for all of us."

"I guess it means we don't understand everything, and we're not going to. Maybe the whys aren't answered here. Not because there aren't answers, but because we wouldn't understand the answers if we had them."

"Scripture comforts me, and romance novels give me hope."

"I don't think we get answers to every question. We don't get to know all the whys. But I think we will look back at the end of our lives, if we do the best we can, and we will see that the things that we begged God to take from us, the things we cursed him for, the things that made us turn our backs on him or any belief in him, are the things that were the biggest blessings, the biggest opportunities for growth."

Language Rating: 2 (medium)
Mature Content Rating: 1 (light)
Final Rating: 4.5 stars

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday Post #110

Sunday Post is a weekly post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
Each week bloggers participate to share any books received and news from their week.

Click on the book cover to be taken to its Goodreads page.

~NO NEW BOOKS~

RECAP OF WEEK:
SUNDAY:

THURSDAY:

Another week down, normal busyness with kids school and events. The weekend brought some much needed down time, but also I went to see Before I Fall with my snl, friend, daughter and her friend. Having not read the book, I didn't know what it was about. I enjoyed it very much though. Although a sad ending, the story had a great message about bullying. And we have one more school week till spring break, in which my kids will travel on vacation with their grandparents and cousin and I'll enjoy a MUCH needed rest from driving kids all over creation. I foresee some good reading time that week.

For the best news of all, it's now Daylight savings time! My FAVORITE time of the year, when the days are long.

2017 SERIES ENDERS READING CHALLENGE SIGN UP:
You can now join us for our 4th annual Series Enders Reading Challenge for 2017! Join anytime until December 15, 2017. We give away a gift card EVERY month to one lucky participant and we award a GRAND PRIZE at the end of the year. The more series enders book reviews you link up - the more entries you have to win. Come join us!



Enjoy your week!
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

*ARC* Cheater - Review

Cheater (Curious Liaisons #1) 

By: Rachel Van Dyken

Published: February 28, 2017 by Skyscape

317 pages

Source: ebook, Netgalley ARC from publisher 

(Goodreads / Amazon)

Summary:
Lucas Thorn wasn’t born a cheater. All it took was a single moment—say, a certain disastrous incident on the night before his wedding—and boom. Reputation destroyed forever and always. So now he owns it. He has a lady friend for every night of the week (except Sundays—God’s day and all), and his rules are simple: No commitments. No exceptions.
But a certain smart-mouthed, strawberry blonde vixen is about to blow that.
Avery Black has never forgiven Lucas for cheating on her sister. And suddenly being forced to work with him is pretty much a nightmare on steroids. Of course, it does afford her the opportunity to make his life as difficult as possible. But no good revenge scheme comes without payback. Because he didn’t become the Lucas Thorn without learning a few things about women.
Now Avery’s lust for vengeance has turned into, well, lust. And if Lucas stops cheating, it’s definitely not because he’s falling in love…
MY REVIEW:
I've read a lot of Van Dyken's books. They have all been 3.5 star ratings or higher for me. I have found them to always be quick reads, fun, and entertaining. So when this title came up on Netgalley to review it was a no brainer to pick it up.

The Prologue starts off with Lucas saying "This is my story. You will hate it. You will hate me." Boy, is that the truth! Within in the first 10% of the book I'm cringing because of the flippant way Lucas treats women....a different woman for every night (or day) of the week. But then again, he's open and honest about it with each of them and they know what they're getting in to. The question then begs, why on earth would these women settle for a womanizer like Lucas Thorn?! Is a cheater any more admirable just because he admits to it and lives up to the title? Gag! But hey, I'm all about redeeming characters in books.

Set in Seattle, Lucas is a 32 year old successful man who loves his work (oddly enough working with on apps for kids) and he loves his revolving door of women. No commitments, no attachments, no strings attached. Friends with benefits perhaps? He's seriously jaded though and has the reputation for ruining his parents relationship with their best friends - the middle school sweetheart he had beginning in the 8th grade and engaged to early in college. The problem is that he mistook one of her sisters for the wrong girl the night before their wedding and that effectively severed a lot of relationships that had grown to be very important to him.

Avery, the youngest of the three Black sisters, is now living in Seattle as well. At 22 years old she refuses to go back home to live with her parents so she accepts an internship only to discover she'll be interning for Lucas Thorn. She's well aware of his reputation and even has to help with his "other calendar". The problem is that she used to be very close to Lucas and if she's being honest, her feelings for him never really went away. Thankfully she values herself more than to be another of his days of the week.

One of the biggest eye rolling irritations for me with this story was the mother of Lucas. She was too emotionally over the top and as such it was too unrealistic for me to accept her behavior.

If you're looking for a fast and fun romance, this book will give you a few laughs and you'll enjoy the crazy ride with Lucas Thorn.

Book two should be fun too as it tells the story of Avery's childhood best girl friend, Austin, and a fellow womanizer (ie cheater) friend of Lucas', named Thatch. Both of these are side characters briefly introduced in book one.

Favorite Quotes:
"Because that's what friends do when they don't screw you over and destroy your life by betraying your trust. They stay loyal, friends for life and all that."

Hating him was difficult. Being attracted to him was inevitable.

"One day you were my friend, and then you became something completely different. Because I wanted you. Because I've always wanted you. Because even when it was wrong - and you were only seventeen years old - I wanted you."

The way a man is supposed to love a woman, with such blind madness that nothing made sense when she wasn't in my world.

Language Rating: 2 (medium)
Mature Content Rating: 2 (medium)
Final Rating: 3.5 stars

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Sunday Post #209

Sunday Post is a weekly post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
Each week bloggers participate to share any books received and news from their week.

Click on the book cover to be taken to its Goodreads page.

~FOR REVIEW~
Preorder Buy Link: Not available

RECAP OF WEEK:
SUNDAY:

THURSDAY:

This week seriously feels like it was whirlwind. From after school late evening musical rehearsals for my oldest, an All-State chorus 3 day trip for him at the end of the week, track practice every day after school for my youngest and an all day track meet on Saturday, I feel like we haven't had much down time at all. If I'm at home I'm cooking and cleaning to stay on top of household stuff so that when we are busy and gone it's not super hard to get caught back up again. That means my reading was slower for this week, though I did finish one book. Oh! The weather we had this week was INSANE! Thunder storms, tornado watches, 80 degree weather to start the week and then cold and windy barely 60 degree weather to end the week. Living in the south you can experience all 4 seasons in one week. 

2017 SERIES ENDERS READING CHALLENGE SIGN UP:
You can now join us for our 4th annual Series Enders Reading Challenge for 2017! Join anytime until December 15, 2017. We give away a gift card EVERY month to one lucky participant and we award a GRAND PRIZE at the end of the year. The more series enders book reviews you link up - the more entries you have to win. Come join us!



Enjoy your week!
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

*ARC* The Dragon's Price - Review

The Dragon's Price (Transference #1)

By: Bethany Wiggins

Published: February 21, 2017 by Crown Books for Young Readers

304 pages

Source: ebook, Netgalley ARC from publisher

(Goodreads / Amazon)

Summary:
Fans of Julie Kagawa’s Talon and Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn will devour this action-packed fantasy adventure about a girl who chooses to surrender herself to a deadly dragon rather than marry an enemy prince.

When two warring kingdoms unified against a deadly menace laying waste to both their lands, they had to make a choice: vow to marry their heirs to one another, or forfeit their lives to the dragon.

Centuries later, everyone expects the sheltered princess Sorrowlynn to choose the barbarian prince over the fire-breathing beast—everyone, that is, except Sorrow, who is determined to control her own destiny or die trying.

As she is lowered into the dragon’s chamber, she assumes her life is over until Golmarr, the young prince she just spurned, follows her with the hopes of being her hero and slaying the dragon. But the dragon has a different plan. . . .

If the dragon wins, it will be freed from the spell that has bound it to the cave for centuries. If Sorrow or Golmarr vanquish the dragon, the victor will gain its treasure and escape the cave beneath the mountain. But what exactly is the dragon hiding?

There are no safe havens for Sorrow or Golmarr—not even with each other—and the stakes couldn’t be higher as they risk everything to protect their kingdom.
MY REVIEW:
I can't recall another series about dragons that I've read, though I know there are some popular ones out there. For me though, this was a new theme. I very much enjoyed it! Not knowing which direction the story would go, given the title, I was intrigued to know exactly what "the dragon's price" actually was. The cover combined with the synopsis was a win for me to request this title.

The story is about a Faodarian Princess, only 16 years old, being forced to either a) accept a marriage proposal to a prince from a barbarian kingdom that her own kingdom has a peace treaty with or b) deny the union should she be chosen and instead sacrifice herself to the fire dragon that is bound in a mountain by magic. Being abused her entire life by her father, the King, she can't accept having to return home with her parents either. So she chooses sacrifice. Only, the young prince of the Antharian kingdom, so intrigued by Sorrowlyn's bravery and reckless nature, comes to her aid as she is lowered into the mountain. What awaits them is beyond what they could've comprehended and starts them both down a path they never could've imagined. A path that in only a matter of 7 days bonds them together in a deep way.

One of my greatest entertainments of this story was watching how Sorrowlynn, trained in propriety as a Princess, is pushed beyond her comfort levels and teased mercilessly by Golmarr. What he views as silliness or naivety in her reactions, she views as barbaric in his. Until eventually they learn to understand one another, and compromise, and do what is necessary to survive.

As most stories have often told of dragon's treasure, the question begs, exactly what use is gold to a dragon? What Sorrowlynn and Golmarr come to discover is that the true treasure of a dragon is something much different than what a human would value as treasure.

This story has it all really - sacrifice, love, battles, dragon's, warring kingdoms, a princess and a prince who balk at the idea of being forced into a union. It even had me tearing up at the end. Add in a bonus for clean content. Sign me up for book 2!! I MUST know what happens next.

Top 5 Favorite Quotes (and a bonus):
"I don't know how they do it in your kingdom, Princess," he says, "but in mine, the man typically leads."

"But when necessary and proper battle it out, necessary always wins."

"Sometimes our lives turn out in ways we never imagined they would,"

"In one week you've bewitched me with your magic, Princess Sorrowlynn."

But the most important piece of knowledge stores with the many thousands of things is that love is precious, priceless beyond all treasure, and not to be forsaken.

Fighting to protect the greater good is more than simply necessary. It is noble, honorable, and self-sacrificing.

Language Rating: 0 (none)
Mature Content Rating: 1 (light)
Final Rating: 4 stars

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